Well this is scary. A few days ago I was rambling about the problems with Democracy and said
"Should the president simply explain to people that the war on terror can not have an exit strategy? Yes, but if he does he wouldn't get re-elected."
And today we have the news article from Reuters...
"NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - One day after saying the war on terror could not be won, President Bush on Tuesday sought to calm a political storm by asserting he had been less than articulate and that America would prevail."

Hillarious in a "I think I'm going to puke" kind of way. The president was honest. He had to turn around and lie to protect his re-election bid. If that doesn't prove that Democracy is full of holes, I don't know what will. It's hard to know what is going on inside the heads of Bush and Kerry except on the rare occasion that they slip up and tell it like it is. I was reading an article last night about how it's entirely possible that the entire American economic system may collapse because we're shifting the burden of the deficit to our youth. They're going to have to pay massive taxes to keep the baby boomers happy. The young generation will have little or no say in the government because they will be outnumbered by baby boomers. The youth will pay the majority of the taxes though because they will be working. Que meltdown.

So if you're old and leeching off the system the best thing you can do for the next generation is max out your credit cards, donate the money to poor kids and then call Dr. Kevorkian. I'm kind of joking but if I get to the age where I'm just sapping money from my poor kids and therefore their kids college funds then it would seem the only honorable, decent thing to do.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Europe and Japan in the near future because they're about 5 years closer to meltdown than we are.


Here is an interesting quote from the creator of Gollum, the handsome little guy from Lord of the Rings when asked about whether or not we will ever see computers create real-life human actors.

I hope not. I don't see why we should. I can create a Humphrey Bogart that will look like Bogart, act like Bogart, sound like Bogart. But what made Bogart so special is what he had inside. You can't create a soul from a computer. And I don't think we should try. If you want to have Tom Hanks in a film, you ought to go out and hire Tom Hanks.

He says we can't create a soul from a computer but then immediately says he doesn't think we should try. I think I know what went on inside his head after that sentence. Oppenheimer was good at what he did. What he did was create the first atom bomb. Upon witnessing the detonation of his combustive concoction he uttered the famous quote "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." Gollum's dad may have been thinking "I am become virtual life, destroyer of the screen actors guild." He realized that it would be possible to fool people into believing that a computer generated actor could have a soul. Why else shouldn't we try if it's not possible? Here is an interesting scenario... Some film studio is going to create a virtual actor and sneak it into a film. It won't be a lead character, maybe someone with a couple of lines. But nobody will notice. It'll cut down on production costs and suddenly producers begin to question the sanity of a $20 Million salary for Adam Sandler.

You can't deny human nature. If I met a brilliant supermodel who was kind and devoid of emotional baggage I'd marry her without hesitation. Maybe we'd grow old together with a couple of adopted kids and I'd die happy. Why adopted kids? Because the perfect girl doesn't exist unless she was a robot and simply lied to me about why she was unable to concieve and had a deathly fear of microwave ovens. Now would the fact that she didn't have a soul matter? Even if I later found out that she wasn't human it wouldn't bother me personally because I don't believe that a soul exists in the religious sense of the word. It's another creation, like god we use to try to make sense of the chaotic world we inhabit. So maybe in a few centuries when this happens we will still be slaves to evolution but we'll have an answer for it. We will have beat the system. Of course real humans will be on average hideous in comparison, the thought of actually having a relationship with another human would be laughable.


Some facts. The average age in 1st world countries is increasing. The cost of healthcare is increasing. Immigration helps America because it lowers our average age compared to European countries and Japan. Lower average age is good because older people are extremely expensive especially if they aren't working. Old people vote for better health care instead of better schools which is damaging to the country in the long run. Terrorism is bad for imigration. Immigration is essential if we're to remain competitive in a global economy. 9/11 was tragic and cost the lives of 3,000 Americans. The total number of people killed in highway crashes in 2001 was 42,116. Terrorists will never be completely eradicated. Big fences will never stop the McVeighs of the world. Should we spend trillions trying to prevent the inevitable? Should the president simply explain to people that the war on terror can not have an exit strategy? Yes, but if he does he wouldn't get re-elected. That's another glaring problem with Democracy. Ignorance is bliss. People like to be lied to. Would any marriage last more than four years if people were really totally honest with eachother? Dishonesty is a requirement for democratic leadership because of our lack of acceptance of human nature.

Democracy is the best system we've found so far and it still sucks. Here's my proposal. It's based on Abe Lincoln's astute observation that "The nation needs a foundation more durable than the sand of opinion that can be easily shifted in each election" It's called Chimpocracy. Chimpocracy would be founded on the awareness that we're basically slightly less furry monkeys with the ability to occasionaly reason. We are on average short term thinking creatures. Instead of taking the best ideas we take a mushy average of what might make sense if we were rational compassionate beings. We're not. Not even close. So our nature isn't compatible with Democracy. What are we compatible with then?


Just saw a movie. Fairly standard issue sappy thing called Love Actually but I actually kind of liked it. It made me realize a few things. These aren't real revelations for most but it just hit me. I'm getting older and life is way way too short to walk in circles. I like the technology, philosophy, and various other words ending in y but they're just scenery. Here's an analogy. I had some nice luggage but it got lost at the airport and I've been waiting for it for a long time. Nothing I can't live without but some illogical chunk of my brain won't let it go. That's why I liked the movie. The airport scenes, because I came to a conclusion about something other than software and business logic for once. It's time to quit bugging the baggage handler, time for some new luggage, maybe something with wheels and a combo lock.

I did come to a conclusion about another thing I'm working on. If we make this game work, and it's a big if because it's so damn ambitious, we may be able to popularize open source software with a heck of a lot of people. More so than Linux because only us computer nerds are using it right now. It's something I think about that helps me sleep. I'm pretty confident we'll succeed.
More news on the driving simulator. Some engineering gurus from Force Dynamics want to work with us to make their motion simulator work with our driving simulator. It's pretty interesting stuff, the prototype looks like a giant spider and the legs expand and contract based on the current state of affairs in the simulator. I'm willing to drive to test out that beast. I'll post some photos if it ever happens.

Here is some nerdy discussion with the Force Dynamics guy from our chat room ..
Kirk] I'm going to test upstream, this could be good
PeriSoft] heson-- at the moment, packets to a special port
STenyaK] is it possible to send packets to 'any port'?
PeriSoft] not sure about port, but you can broadcast to any machine
PeriSoft] problem is that loads up all the machines on the network with packets they have to toss out.. now, not a big deal, but i'd prefer to have specific

There is a new article in BusinessWeek claiming that flying cars will be a reality fairly soon. We've been able to communicate via the Internet over large distances for years and now, hopefully these new forms of transportation will allow like minded people to interact. I only wonder how many miles per gallon they would get.

The reason I thought of this is because I did the E-harmony thing just to see what would happen. It found a few matches which in retrospect makes sense. I'm a fairly strange animal so I wouldn't expect my profile to match up with hundreds of women. The women it did find were mostly in other states. Now if people could jump in their sky car and go meet these ultra-compatible people, we'd probably see a lot less dysfunction in the world.

I had a dream last night. I was in the future and I was looking back on the way things are today and how little we really know about the world or ourselves for that matter. I've always heard that famous quote "The more you know, the more you realize the less you know" and wondered if that was really true. Maybe it's arrogance. I have a set of beliefs that I'm fairly sure are representative of reality. Although I'm not sure you can really call an agnostic a true believer in anything.


Today was a good day for my little side project. One of our graphics guys created the first test car for Motorsport. As of today we have 115 people signed on to help and we gain one or two a week. We've been forced to create a new car from scratch to avoid any legal issues. Ferrari is very touchy about this sort of thing apparently. In fact, even though we're not planning to get rich off of this they still don't play ball. We're having a hard time coming up with a name for the blue beast. If you have any ideas click the comment link...
Over the weekend I remember thinking about the similarities between distributed software development and democracy. There is an article called the Cathedral and the Bazzar by Eric Raymond that explains how a decentralized decision making process is a sound management philosophy. I'm among the minority of Open Source proponents that disagree with his conclusions. Linus Torvalds is the self proclaimed benevolent dictator of the operating system known as Linux. It is the result of thousands of developers working together on a project that is now at the top of Microsoft's threat list.

Here is a quote from the guy that commented on my blog about a quote from a philosopher "Yeah, Socrates was right when he said that rule by the many can do the least harm, but also the least good." In fact the whole electoral college system is designed to prevent the majority from dominating the minority...

"Thus, the intent of the college is to favor a candidate whose appeal is more broadly distributed on a geographical basis across the nation (see the 2000 election, below). This may lead to the rare circumstance of giving the election to a candidate who did not win a majority, or even a plurality, of the popular vote. This is seen as preferable than giving the election to one who is favored by a majority of voters but whose support is concentrated in a minority of regions or only by voters in large states."

I think my point here is that people are only proponents of elitism because our current system creates the exact opposite. They say "find a job you love and you'll never have to go to work again" People who love philosophizing about political ideologies will gravitate towards a system where their voices are heard. That system doesn't exist in America today. OpEd pieces are too slow, rebuttals in Foreign Affairs take two months to appear.

If we think of a democracy as an open source project where the source code is the constitution and law then couldn't the same ideas that work for Linux and other massive collaborative projects work for government as well? I was reading about how the Republicans were having a hard time finding someone to run for an office because it would cost $7-$10 Million dollars. Nobody wants to run for office these days. What if all of those great thinkers without $10Million burning a hole in their pockets could actually have a say in how things work? I guess the problem isn't whether or not it would work but the more practical issue of how to change the momentum of the most powerful nation on the planet.

Here is an interesting read with similar ideas. And a Free Book about the subject.

My entire blog is a rough draft, I need to cut the fat off the edges and edit some of my posts.

Next time:
  • Ferrari Lawyers
  • Sandia Labs


The new copy of Foreign Affairs arrived today. The only article that jumped out at me was Riding for a Fall by Peter Peterson. He talks about the aging population of 1st world nations and how our spending habits will most likely cause some major problems with the economy in the next few years. I'm optimistic that because of technology the majority of the world will be better off in the future.

What happens when technology replaces a worker? Are we better off because prices go down or does the increasing underemployment counter those gains? I was reading some economic data just for kicks the other day; it turns out that corporate profits are booming while wages are stagnant. Based on what I've read the counterintuitive trend is the result of the rise of "process automation". Outsourcing gets the bad press because it has a face. It's more gratifying tormenting a cabbie than a can opener.

I guess I'm just trying to get a grip on what exactly an economy is. In one article in Foreign Affairs the author catches himself lamenting the slow demise of 1st world dominace when he knows that the standard of living for billions of others is increasing. There is depressing humor in the fact that we live in a democracy where we're supposed to have faith in the opinions of the majority yet we ignore the majority of the inhabitants of the world. Maybe that's the root cause of my anti-Bush sentiments. Unilatteralism isn't democratic. Wikipedia is democracy. Maybe the best hope have for the future of the planet is Moore's law. Computers are becoming commodity items. Access to information is getting cheaper at the same time that content is appearing at exponential rates.
It's a sort of singularity. Increasingly cheaper technology increases access to information. That information increases demand for the technology. I took the software used for Wikipedia and used it to create my own Wiki for my driving simulator. It's interesting that the monetary value of the software I downloaded would be hundreds or thousands of dollars if the license wasn't open source. Check it out here it's the same stuff that's running http://wikipedia.org.

I think I need to read more and write less.


"Never before in history have we been able to see incumbent businesses protect business models based on old technology against creative destruction by new technologies. And they're doing it by manipulating the political process. The telegraph didn't prevent the telephone, the railroad didn't prevent the automobile. But now, because of the immense amounts of money that they're spending on lobbying and the need for immense amounts of money for media, the political process is being manipulated by incumbents."

A quote from a Howard Rheingold interview. Read the whole thing here.

I was driving to work today and heard the new Green Day Anti-Bush song. It wasn't on a Clear Channel station. I flipped to Clear Channel owned 91X, and they were playing Green Day too, just not the Bush song. Coincidence? Perhaps but it's most likely a massive conspiracy ;)

Someone actually posted a comment on my blog. I think it's the result of that new button at the top that takes you to a random blog. It's surprising that they didn't have that earlier. The text reads 1 comments. I wrote some software once that counted the number of items and would remove the s from the end of comments if only one item existed so it would be gramatically correct. The code looks something like this: != means does not equal.
if (intComments != 1)
{ strComment += "s";}

Here's a lesson maybe you readers can take from me so it never happens to you. I went to the gym last night, did a bunch of cardio stuff, probably dehydrated myself. So I get home and the Padres are winning and the beer begins to flow, exacerbating the dehydration. I'm not sure beer is a good word to describe what I was drinking. Stone Imperial Russian Stout. It's over 20 proof. Gnarly hangover this morning but my mud-like coffee quickly cured me.

Next time: Redefining Capitalism on Wikipedia.


There are two circumstances I find myself thinking about that leech stress from my troubled mind. The first involves me on a boat.

It's morning and I'm somewhere about a mile off shore in an old sail boat. I don't have on quite enough clothes to keep me warm but my PH Balanced beard and overheating laptop keep me at a perfect temperature. I've created a harness and pulley system for my requisite golden lab. He scampers down the hull of the boat, perfectly counterbalanced, cleaning off the barnicles thanks to the peanut butter I applied at the dock. It's a beautiful symbiotic relationship much like the bird that cleans the alligator's teeth. And so I sit, inspired by the sounds of the seagulls and hungry dog, writing about software and caffeine, not knowing how to steer the boat but content in the knowledge that our coast guard will again prove their heroism.

OK I guess the other situation also involves a boat. I'm cruising through the Caribbean sea. Not a soul in sight. I don't have a laptop this time but I'm stark naked and I have a boatload of beer. And limes. No dog or peanut butter this time, although...

And so it appears that I enjoy solitude. I enjoy the company of people but spending your entire life with one person sounds a little utopian. My use of utopian refers to Tomas More's book Utopia which "depicted a society organized along communist lines."
Well intentioned but with only an ideallic understanding of human nature. Now that divorce rates have surpassed the 50% barrier and considering the fall of the Berlin Wall I don't think it's a huge leap to compare communism and marriage.

I can see myself as an old man with two or three dogs, maybe one fat anti-social cat, some good friends and maybe a boat.


I was chatting with my co-workers on my side project and noticed that we all type our email addresses in a certain weird way to prevent the spam 'bots that scan chat rooms for easy prey. kirk@oogabooga.net is translated to kirk AATT oogabooga DOT net. We're already trying to outsmart supposedly dumb software.

I'm headed to New York in October to chase around ladies with attitude and fancy shoes. It should be interesting to learn about all of the weird beach living tendencies I have that I assume are universal. I really want to go to Europe though, all of my code buddies from the Motorsport project are over there and I'd probably have a lot of fun if I made it over.

I've had a business idea for a long time. I've been working on it, tweaking it, etc. And I think now is the time to grab it by the balls and run with it. My motivation is the articles that point out the growing wealth divide. My scary vision of 1 man and 50 robots / applications running a business isn't so scary if I'm the guy behind the robot polished desk. My new office has a window. I can see the sky now and I find myself in a more relaxed mood. I changed my wallpaper to the blue water, 3 treed island that comes with Windows XP.


Signed up for the gym finally. They tried to use every weird tactic to extract as much money as possible from me. I figured out the loopholes in the system though. You can upgrade your membership to include other gyms but you can't downgrade it. My degree in finance has emboldened me to mess with sales people. I guess it's sorta mean. You can't transfer your account to another gym either, you have to either upgrade to the multi-gym package or cancel and restart your membership there. On the plus side, I slept better than I have in years last night. I even woke up earlier than my alarm clock for once.

I'm thinking of buying a motorbike. Specifically this one. I have a little two seat car that I drive the hell out of so going to a bike wouldn't be a huge change. I guess it would suck on rainy days but we have maybe two of those a year here in San Diego. Could be dangerous though. The one time I got my hands on a bike it didn't turn out well. Many moons ago there was a yellow moped, its owner had long since given up on the sad looking little guy. A little TLC and a few hours later and we had a living hog. Being invincible I didn't need a helmet; shoes or shirt either for that matter. So I'm racing around the block faster and faster, eyes tearing up from the wind, when I just pushed too hard and crashed. I was laying face down in the middle of the sreet, bike in pieces and I had so much adrenaline in me that I didn't feel much pain. Hopefully I learned my lesson.

It's Friday and I'm forcing myself to stay home tonight. I find myself going out to the local bars about every other night. That's a bad habit unless you're rich. And if you are rich it's a really bad habit.


Just saw the new Cruise cab movie. Not too bad though it was kind of long. 4 CrackHouses out of 5.

I'm joining the gym. Not because I think its cool to have no neck but because I want to have more energy. Supposedly exercise is good for the brain too. I hate the fact that mindless, monotonous activity is required for the human body to work correctly. Robots aren't going to go to the gym.

Speaking of robots... We bought our tickets online for the movie and the were spat out at the machine in the theater lobby. There was a huge line next to us, there is no going back.

I read some interesting information about emergence and how it creates complex behavior in farily simple systems. I was trying to figure out the code necessary to create self awareness in AI in an earlier post and the emergence idea makes the code unnecessary.

Duality - " The representation of the higher (spiritual) and lower (mental) aspects of consciousness held by an individual. " Emergence is similarly two layered. I'll expand on this in the next post...


As usual on a Sunday, I was watching "Meet the Press" with my big cup of Joe and small hang over and heard an interesting point. We tax corporate profits which increase the cost of goods which supposedly has the same effect as regressive taxes like sales tax. The politician argued that we need to only tax personal income so corporations aren't burdened by the regulatory impediments that are supposedly harming our(American) global competitiveness.

He forgot to mention that wages would have to jump as well to counter the increased personal taxes which would cancel any cost benefits from reduced corporate taxes. The only benefit, and it may be large, would come from the reduced complexity of the current system. Another consequence is that the cost of employing workers would go up, increasing demand for automated smart systems which would cut employment starting with the working class and moving its way up as technology improves. It reminds me of the Butterfly Effect. Things are changing too fast because of technology for these old school thinkers to predict the consequences of their policy decisions.

If we had a president with the brains of Bill Clinton and the heart of Tim Russert the world would be a better place.


Time for an experiment and I need your input. My blog is named Zero Comments because I see it at the bottom of each of my posts. People apparently like to treat PCs like glorified televisions, using the mouse as the remote control. Or maybe my blog is just boring. Due to the name of the blog, this experiment may result in a cataclysmic pardox much like bubble gum flavored bubble gum. It's worth it though because I want new shoes and I have a truely horrible sense of fashion.

So click the comments link and post links to your favorite web stores for clothes. People say style is something you have to develop on your own. True but it can't get much worse at this point so fire away. Or don't.


In my search to decide whether or not it's a good idea to have a kid I came across a tounge only slightly in cheek movement called VHEMT (pronounced vehement) They argue that we shouldn't have kids because it's detrimental to all of the life on the planet.

They make some good arguments. It's a little bit selfish to have a kid when there are thousands dying of hunger in other parts of the world. Not having a kid is probably the least I can do. That and sending cash to kids like the one here with skinny legs would seem like the only humane things to do. It's ironic, and I don't often use that word, that because healthy food is expensive low income people are more likely to be obese in America. ($.29 hamburger tuesdays at McDonalds) It's totally bassackwards.

The site also makes the interesting point that because we're not smart enough as a species to prevent starvation we could end the suffering simply by not having those kids in the first place.

My dog is gone. It was sad to send him off but I slept better than I have in years last night. I don't think I came to any real conclusions about my ability to raise mammals, humans included. I guess I wonder what life's going to be like for a kid in 10 or 20 years.

The term Childfree is used to describe people who choose not to have children. Here are some of the reasons they cite:
  • Concern regarding environmental factors and/or overpopulation.
  • Desire for increased free time.
  • Desire for decreased financial responsibility.
  • Perceived incapacity to be a responsible parent.
  • Fear that parenthood, being an irrevocable state, will be disliked.
  • Lack of biological urges to procreate.
I don't believe overpopulation is a problem, in fact, most 1st world countries can't sustain their populations without immigration. I like free time a lot but I don't subscribe the the idea that it takes a heck of a lot of money to raise a kid correctly at least in the sense that dysfunction doesn't seem to care about socio-economic class. I think I'd make a good parent but the chance that the marriage would die seems like too great a risk because I've been through an ugly divorce as a kid and it absolutely sucked.

Here's an idea. Our current Western conception of marriage isn't universal, in fact one of my professors argued that the current American nuclear family was promoted by corporations in the early 20th century to make relocation easier for hapless working stiffs. So the reason my childhood sucked was because I'd put all of my hope and faith in an emotional institution designed by business majors(of which I am one). Had I lived with an extended family and been raised by uncles, cousins, grandparents etc. it would have been a lot easier to deal with the separation of my parents. So I'm not anti-kid after all, just wary of the environment(marriage) I'm supposed to raise him in.

I'll leave you with some humor. Here are some slang terms from the Childfree movement...
  • BNP: "Breeder, Not Parent"; a "breeder" in the specific sense (see below).
  • Breeder: Generally, someone who has, or intends to have, children. Is often used in a more specific sense to refer to obnoxious parents (in contrast with "parent", below).
  • Parent: One with children who behaves in a non-obnoxious manner regarding their children, and is considered to have raised those children well. (Some Childfree persons do not make the distinction between this and "breeder", above.)
  • PNB: "Parent, Not Breeder"; a "parent" (see above).
  • Sprog: A child.